A 104-year-old leader of the Lithuanian (non-Hasidic) ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Israel, Rabbi Aharon Yehudah Leib Steinman, was in intensive care Wednesday with his multitude of followers holding prayer sessions for his recovery.
His condition further deteriorated after he was hospitalized earlier in the week, according to the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in the city of Bnei Brak where he was being kept in intensive care.
The deterioration came the same day that Steinman’s eldest daughter Devora Berlin died aged 72.
Steinman has been considered one of the top leaders of the community since the 2012 death of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv. He is also the spiritual leader of the Degel Hatorah faction of the United Torah Judaism political party.
Steinman arrived at the medical center on Monday for a treatment and a medical checkup but doctors decided to keep him hospitalized, the Hebrew-language Walla website reported. Since then he has remained in the center and his condition has become progressively worse.
Other community leaders including rabbis Gershon Edelstein and Chaim Kanievsky called for ultra-Orthodox learning institutes to cancel Torah study sessions and instead pray for Steinman’s speedy recovery.
At the beginning of the month he was hospitalized for a week and then released under the care of his personal doctor, Walla reported.
The Srugim website, which focuses on the religious community in Israel, reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayahu spoke with Degel Hatorah chairman MK Moshe Gafni to inquire about Steinman’s health.